Yamoussoukro Basilica of Our Lady of Peace – The Biggest Catholic Church in the world

Basilique de Notre Dame de la Paix de Yamoussoukro, Rue de St.France, Yamoussoukro, Slonokoščena obala

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Yamoussoukro Basilica of Our Lady of Peace

Guinness World Records lists it as the largest “church” in the world, having surpassed the previous record holder, St. Peter’s Basilica, upon completion. It has an area of 30,000 square metres (320,000 sq ft)[12] and is 158 metres (518 ft) high.

On Monday, 10 September 1990, at 08.30, the Pope consecrated the new Basilica dedicated to Our Lady of Peace.

It is a sanctuary, a place of prayer, recollection, pilgrimage and radiance of the message of Peace: Guard forever the Human Family in Peace, O Our Lady of Peace “.

Yamoussoukro Basilica of Our Lady of Peace - The Biggest Catholic Church in the world

The construction of the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace in Yamoussoukro is the result of a man: President Houphouët-Boigny who wanted to express his faith and his thanksgiving to God in recognition of Côte d’Ivoire long considered as a haven of peace.

At the beginning of the eighties the task of drawing the plans of this Basilica was entrusted to a college of architects including M. Pierre Fakhoury, to whom the Basilica owes the form that we know. The birth of the building was done according to the following timetable:

  • August 1985: Blessing of the first stone by Pope John Paul II
  • February 2, 1986: Laying of the first stone
  • July 1986: Beginning of work
  • September 1989: Completion of work
  • 10 September 1990: Consecration by Pope John Paul II
  • January 1, 1991: Official opening

Yamoussoukro Basilica of Our Lady of Peace - The Biggest Catholic Church in the world

The Basilica of Our Lady of Peace is a sanctuary. The honorary title of “Basilica minor” conferred by the Pope John Paul II, at his consecration on September 10, 1990, also makes it a missionary center of contemplation and pilgrimage. It is a Marian sanctuary that welcomes all those who come to pray to Our Lady of Peace.

Since its opening, the Basilica hosts many pilgrims coming from different horizons and guided by the religious feeling.

The Christian pilgrimage symbolizes the progress of the people of God, led by their pastors, to meet Christ. Christians come to the Basilica in a fraternal approach of conversion and prayer, in communion with the Pope, Bishops and Priests.

This evangelization presupposes a resourcing in the faith, the deepening of an ecclesial consciousness, an approach of personal and collective conversion, the experience of a life in communion. This evangelization thus becomes a testimony for our society and develops the sense of responsibility

Yamoussoukro Basilica – Biggest catholic church in the world

On entering the Basilica, one passes under the stained glass window of the Blessed Virgin to which the sanctuary is dedicated, thus recalling the primordial role of Mary in the history of salvation: by her “yes” to the angel, she gave the World the Savior.

The interior of the Basilica is a perfect rotunda.

Yamoussoukro Basilica of Our Lady of Peace - The Biggest Catholic Church in the world

This immense interior space can contain eighteen thousand persons: seven thousand sitting and eleven thousand standing. The walls are made up of twenty-four large windows arranged between twenty-four pillars.

There are twenty-two gates and two chapels dedicated to Our Lady of Peace and Saint Joseph.

The interior of the Yamoussoukro Basilica is still a collection of forty-eight full Doric columns, more than thirty meters high. They run around the sanctuary and rush towards the ambulatory and the dome.

In the interior there are also twelve hollow ionic columns. They hide inside six staircases, cables, the four elevators which allow to reach the ambulatory of the Apostles and the external terraces.

Yamoussoukro Basilica of Our Lady of Peace - The Biggest Catholic Church in the world

The canopy is made of brass and bronze. Its height is twenty-eight meters. This four-column canopy is also marked by African tradition. Indeed, as in the rainforest, creepers surround the trunks of trees, spirals wrap around the four barrels.

At the top of each of them, the capital rests on a perforated seat, royal Baoulé seat which then becomes the throne of the King of kings: Jesus Christ.

Guinness World Records lists it as the largest “church” in the world, having surpassed the previous record holder, St. Peter’s Basilica, upon completion. It has an area of 30,000 square metres (320,000 sq ft)[12] and is 158 metres (518 ft) high.

Posted in Africa and Ivory Coast